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The Central District (more commonly referred to as Central) on the north shore is Hong Kong’s central business district, which is also famous for its culture, nightlife and gastronomic scene. Find out how this former trade and administrative centre became a frenetic financial and commercial hub with a historical tour of Hong Kong’s Central District.
Built in 1841, Tai Kwun is a heritage complex that was once home to the British colony’s main police station, magistracy and the Victoria Prison. In 2018, the complex’s buildings, which had remained unused since 2006, were transformed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron into a new art, culture, dining and retail venue named Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Art. The renewed, 27,000-square-metre (290,625-square-foot) site – which includes two large courtyards, 16 carefully conserved heritage buildings and two new modern structures – is the largest restoration project that’s taken place in Hong Kong. When you visit, you can tour the old prison block, enjoy an art exhibition and then dine at one of the newly opened restaurants.
Founded in 1864 and officially opened to the public in 1871, what is today the Hong Kong Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens began as a collection and research botanical park before birds and mammals were brought in around 1876. Renamed in 1975, the park today comprises two sections: the New Gardens and the Old Gardens. The New Gardens is where you will find animals such as emperor tamarins, black-and-white ruffled lemurs and adorable meerkats. Within the Old Gardens is a greenhouse, a fountain terrace where people can exercise, a bamboo garden that is ideal for meditations, and aviaries with birds such as blue crane and American flamingoes. Along Upper Albert Road, near the southern entrance to the Old Gardens, is a memorial arch commemorating the Chinese who died assisting the British Allied forces during both World Wars.
If you’re looking for an authentic dim sum meal with signature dishes like char siew bao and siew mai brought to your table on traditional trolleys, Lin Heung is a Hong Kong tea-house-style restaurant that is not to be missed. Founded in Guangzhou in 1889, it opened in Hong Kong in 1926 and has been at its current address since 1980. The place has a raucous atmosphere that’s quintessentially Hong Kong, with waiters bustling about with dishes and metal kettles to top up the pots of jasmine tea on tables. Besides dim sum, Lin Heung also serves banquet-style Chinese cuisine for lunch and dinner.